At a glance: It’s gut-check time for the Islanders, who have dropped 12 of their past 14 games, including two straight shutout losses. The sputtering 5-10-3 squad has displayed an embarrassing lack of effort of late and are in danger of losing their seventh straight game against the 11-6-3 Flyers.
DiPietro to start: Looking for a bounce-back performance, goaltender Rick DiPietro will start in net Wednesday for the Islanders against Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov. DiPietro was pulled after giving up three goals on 13 shots in the first period of Saturday’s atrocious 6-0 loss to Boston. The 30-year-old netminder is 7-14-0 in 21 career games against the Flyers; he gave up a combined 16 goals in three appearances against them last season. The last time he recorded a win against Philly? February 12, 2008.
Cousin Haley’s back: In response to coach Jack Capuano’s plea for physicality, the Islanders recalled fourth-line bruiser Micheal Haley from Bridgeport. Haley was called up last season the day of the infamous Islanders-Penguins debacle in February, a 9-3 rout in which he scored his first NHL goal and fought two Penguins players during the same stoppage. The fan favorite, who played 27 games for the Islanders last season, has one goal and two assist in 16 games for the Sound Tigers.
Jagr returns: The Flyers will return Jaromir Jagr to their lineup; Jagr missed the past two games with a groin injury The 39-year-old veteran began the season at an impressive clip, recording six goals and 11 assists in the first 18 games.
Scoring woes: The Islanders anemic offense ranks dead-last in the league through 18 games this season with a meager 1.94 goals per game. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Flyers who lead the league with 3.65 goals per game.
Veteran moves: Veterans Marty Reasoner and Brian Rolston are scratched for Wednesday’s Atlantic Division matchup. Head coach Jack Capuano said that 38-year-old Rolston, who has two goals and two assists in 17 games, is feeling “under the weather.” Reasoner is a healthy scratch, however, along with rookie forward Nino Niederreiter. Niederreiter has played three games since returning from a pre-season groin injury, but will sit his second straight.
Bottom line: Dead-last in the Eastern Conference standings, the Islanders are looking to pick up a much-needed win against a division foe that has given them fits in recent years. The Islanders have dropped 24 of their last 26 games against the Flyers dating back to the 2007-08 season.